Lance Levens


The Lotta Bottom Blues

They tell us that space is a vacuum; it ought to make us quake.
So I moved to the desert by Nebuchadnezzar, tried to stake out a stake.
But it’s empty too like you and me, icing without any cake.
*****So sign please at the dead letter X.
*****Some witch is screaming you need a good hex,
*****And she looks a lot like your tongue-lashing ex,
**********You sly old fake.

My shrink wears shoes with sticky-on’s. They cheer for Freud and Jung.
A monkey cushion, a poster with Mick Jagger’s long red tongue.
His office swirls with drugged-up geists whose ho has lost its gung.
*****So sign please at the dead letter X.
*****You’re devolving back to the old T Rex.
*****And don’t even think about mentioning sex:
**********You’re still too young.

At the posh school my kids attend they don’t give a fig for God.
The kids are boozing, drugs of their choosing; no one thinks it odd.
I spoke to the board who mocked and roared, called me a troglodyte clod.
*****So sign please at the dead letter X,
*****Or we’ll whip out a list of your marital wrecks.
*****And there ain’t a soul in Texas named Tex,
**********You feckless sod.

The doctor gave me the Rx du jour; I stroked, we paused for tea.
Nitro-ed till my eye balls spun, I became the Woe is Me.
Then the general slushy two step, skippety hoppity: pee.
*****So sign please at the dead letter X.
*****Or we’ll peck you where the dodo pecks
*****And if there’s a soul in Texas named Tex,
**********It’s yours for free.

The Iterative Short Stop

Something there is that will not glove a ball.
Mitts fall apart; the webbing is too tight.
Wild men who leap and drop it in mid-flight—
What but design of darkness to appall?

Nor is the art of bobbling hard to master;
I have been one acquainted with its bite.
Hot grounder! Hot grounder! Burning in the night!
What immortal hand or eye is faster?

They cannot scare me with their extra bases,
The hands that wrought them or the fans to see.
A bad hop is a world made cunningly,
But I see pennant where the sticking place is.


Lance Levens’s short stories, poems, translations and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including Beloit Poetry Journal, The Raintown Review, and Metamorphosis. His chapbook, Jubilate (Pudding House Press), was published in 2007, the year he was nominated by Storyglossia for a Pushcart Prize in fiction. He received a second Pushcart Nomination in 2010 for his poem “Heat” (The Chimera) and in 2011 received a Carpe Articulum prize for short fiction. His novel, A Kaddish for Inhuman Steadman, is available at Amazon and a second novel, Tietam Cane, is coming out this summer with Fireship Press. He and his wife, Jean, live in Savannah, GA with their Schnoodle, Moe.